Tag Archives: Anthony Fernandez

West St. Paul City Council Recap: March 25, 2019

Last night’s West St. Paul city council meeting was mostly routine business and well-deserved city boosting. But it also included a seemingly benign change that turned contentious. It resulted in the first non-unanimous votes in Mayor Dave Napier’s new tenure.

City Boosting

  • The food drive in support of Neighbors Inc. continues, and all indications are that West St. Paul is crushing neighboring South St. Paul. You can get details about where and how to donate at WSPFoodDrive.com.
  • Mayor Napier and Council member Lisa Eng-Sarne were among the many volunteers who joined the effort to fill sandbags in South St. Paul as the Mississippi River rises.
  • The West St. Paul Days organizers gave an update about this year’s events, which are coming in May, including a combined City Hall open house and festival at Harmon Park.
  • Mayor Napier honored former council member and city manager Tom Hoban, who passed away recently with a proclamation for his long list of service to the city.
  • A report on the city’s shared volunteer program highlighted that it’s saved the city $78,000. The program also boasts 470 volunteers in West St. Paul.

Continue reading West St. Paul City Council Recap: March 25, 2019

West St. Paul City Council Recap: Feb. 25, 2019

This week’s West St. Paul City Council meeting didn’t seem to have any major items on the agenda, but there were still several noteworthy items. So let’s do a quick recap of the Feb. 25, 2019 meeting.

Food Drive: South Side vs. West Side

In a bit of friendly competition, the West St. Paul city council has challenged the South St. Paul city council to see who can bring in more food and donations in support of the Neighbors Inc. food shelf. The losing city council will wear the hockey jersey of the winning city’s team at a meeting. So it’s South St. Paul High School Packers vs. Henry Sibley High School Warriors. You can find more details including a list of places to bring food or donations online.

It’s been reported that Neighbors Inc. has lost an $89,000 grant from United Way, so they could definitely use the extra support this year. Continue reading West St. Paul City Council Recap: Feb. 25, 2019

How Much Do Election Campaigns Cost in West St. Paul?

We had a competitive and heated election season in West St. Paul, Minn., in 2018. That hasn’t always been the case, but it also means an increase in costs.

Let’s take a look at the cash spent in recent elections in West St. Paul.

Most Expensive Election?

2018 at nearly $37,700 total. Only one race was uncontested and there was an extremely expensive primary in ward 3 where all four candidates spend over $2,000.

I only looked at data going back to 2008, but given inflation and the rising cost of campaigns, it’s likely the most expensive election season in West St. Paul history (I don’t quite have the data to verify it, but I’m pretty confident). Continue reading How Much Do Election Campaigns Cost in West St. Paul?

West St. Paul City Council Fails to Approve Garlough Site Plan

On Monday, Nov. 26, the West St. Paul city council considered a site plan for construction at Garlough Environmental Magnet School as part of the 2018 school district bond referendum improvements. In addition to classroom and facility additions, the plans include adding a second driveway and expanding the southern parking lot to create a separate drop off/pick up loop, a change that should vastly improve morning/ afternoon congestion and safety issues.

Garlough site plan
The Garlough site plan, showing the separate bus loop and parent drop off/pick up loop.

But the city council failed to approve the site plan over concerns that Garlough doesn’t have enough parking. Continue reading West St. Paul City Council Fails to Approve Garlough Site Plan

West St. Paul Wins: 2018 Election

After feeling somewhat despondent after the 2016 election, I decided to focus on local politics. I couldn’t do much about things at the national level, but I thought maybe I could make a difference at the local level.

I wasn’t alone.

An army of volunteers and supporters came forward, and together we worked for change. People tried to join city committees, we supported a local trail, put on a bike rodeo—we got involved.

Then the sexism controversy exploded and West St. Paul made national news. And not in a good way.

People were already starting to pay attention, but that issue galvanized people like never before. A progressive advocacy group, Women of West St. Paul formed, and they organized voter registration efforts, rides to the polls, and multiple candidate forums.

On April 23, 2018, West St. Paul’s first female mayor, Jenny Halverson, expressed frustration at what she saw as sexism, and declared, “This will not be forgotten, folks.”

On Nov. 6, 2018, it was not forgotten. Continue reading West St. Paul Wins: 2018 Election

2018 West St. Paul Mayor Race: Anthony Fernandez vs. Dave Napier

The 2018 West St. Paul mayoral race is an open contest since incumbent Mayor Jenny Halverson announced she wasn’t running. Current council members Anthony Fernandez and Dave Napier are vying for the job.

I’m voting for Dave Napier.

The Candidates

Anthony Fernandez currently serves as Ward 2 council member (first elected in 2016) and was a previous city council candidate in St. Paul (lost to Melvin Carter in 2011). Fernandez also served on the Planning Commission (appointed by Dave Meisinger in 2015). He’s a real estate broker with a background in construction.

Dave Napier currently serves as a Ward 3 council member (first elected in 2012). Napier has been a longtime pillar in the community. He’s the former director of buildings and grounds at local nonprofit the Dodge Nature Center and has volunteered in a range of places in West St. Paul, from sports to Kiwanis. Continue reading 2018 West St. Paul Mayor Race: Anthony Fernandez vs. Dave Napier

West St. Paul 2018 Mayoral Forum: Anthony Fernandez & Dave Napier

The League of Women Voters Dakota County hosted the first ever West St. Paul mayoral candidates forum on Friday, Oct. 12. More than 50 people filled the council chambers at city hall to hear candidates Anthony Fernandez and Dave Napier answer questions. We had the best attended of any of the League’s candidate forums.

You can watch the forum online.

In previous years West St. Paul has never had this kind of attention paid to its political process. In the past two election cycles we’ve had hotly contested mayor’s races, and West St. Paul even had a mayoral primary in 2016. But most years there’s the Town Square TV candidate forum, and that’s it. That forum includes all mayoral and city council candidates for the general election, which means a limited time to dig into the issues.

This year’s Town Square TV forum included 7 questions.

Last night’s League of Women Voters forum included 31 questions.

That’s an incredible opportunity for the citizens of West St. Paul to hear from their mayoral candidates and make an informed choice. I couldn’t be more proud of my city, and I’m grateful to the League of Women Voters for organizing this event and to the candidates for participating. Continue reading West St. Paul 2018 Mayoral Forum: Anthony Fernandez & Dave Napier

Where Do West St. Paul’s 2018 Candidates Stand on David Meisinger?

The mayor and three city council seats are on the ballot in West St. Paul this year. I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions to see where they stand on the issues.

Earlier we covered Robert Street debtPride flagsmedians and roundabouts, and making better headlines. For my last question, I wanted to ask our current candidates specifically about the behavior of another candidate.

A lot of people have seen my article about the inappropriate behavior of David Meisinger. In some ways it’s an awkward question to ask candidates to go negative on a fellow candidate. On the other side, I don’t think it takes much bravery to condemn bullying.

At any rate, here’s the question:

I’ve written a detailed article about the recent inappropriate behavior of former mayor and ward 3 city council candidate David Meisinger. I want to be clear that these incidents come from Meisinger himself and they are not partisan political issues. It’s important for citizens to know about his behavior and to know if other elected officials will condone his behavior—especially considering the multiple endorsements Meisinger has received in the past. What is your position on his recent behavior? Based on his behavior, do you think he should continue his campaign for city council?

I sent that question to [most of] the candidates on September 5 and gave them September 26 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading Where Do West St. Paul’s 2018 Candidates Stand on David Meisinger?

River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul Moves Forward

I’ve been a big proponent of the River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul, including a tunnel under Robert Street. I’ve blogged about it, I’ve got the T-shirt, I talk to everybody—seriously, my barber asks about it and just this week I told the bank manager about it while getting something notarized.

This week the West St. Paul city council approved an agreement with Dakota County that’s a big step forward for the trail and tunnel. It’s been a long process, and we were in danger of losing $2.2 million in state money if action wasn’t taken by the end of the year.

But we did it. Continue reading River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul Moves Forward